SOL: A Day at the Fair

The Ulster County Fair, that is. Mopsy had the brilliant idea of driving up to the Catskills to spend a few hours checking out the crafts. I haven’t been to a big country-style craft fair in forever. Maybe since my mother, sister and I chanced upon one while on a Vermont vacation a thousand years ago, the summer before I started college … or what it the summer before the senior year in high school? Hmm … in any case, much too long.

There were jewelry-makers, stained glass artist, carvers, soap makers, candle-dippers, painters, quilters, knitters, sculptors, seamstresses, honey and syrup sellers, a fudge man, a bead man … oh, I’m forgetting about a hundred things. Yes, like the wacky guy with the marshmallow shooter. And the dotty-seeming English lady with the découpage boxes, tissue box covers and garbage cans. There was a lovely man making careful, delicate pictures and cards in a technique I’ve never seen before and didn’t really understand. He didn’t mind me standing over his shoulder to watch while he worked, and let me take his picture, too  He’s making the panda you see in the upper right corner of the second pic:

take 1




mesh animals


These are made of wire mesh. This artist was one of the first I saw when we arrived. The man who made them also had lots of carefully-rendered women, too. (Yes, yes, they were nudes … but what else would they be? How weird and boring it would have been to look at wire mesh renderings of clothes!) And he was making them by hand, which I continue to marvel at.

And then, of course, there was the fair food! Fried dough, Italian sausages, fresh lemonade, steak and onion subs, kettle corn, homemade ice cream … and … Thai food. Oh, the times, they are a-changin’ I guess!

Best find of the day:the jar of Hot Pepper Honey.


Oh.My.Great.Goodness! This stuff is so good! And it meant we got to listen to the too-earnest-and-into-his-honey young man who sold us on the stuff (Mopsy got the Garlic Honey) and blessed us when we walked away. Fortunately, they’re online, so I won’t have to freak out when I start to run low on my spicy honey. They’re in Pennsylvania, and I certainly wouldn’t mind a road trip to find them, but ordering from their site is just so much easier. As our sales-lad said, “It’s 911 honey dot com. For all your honey emergencies.”

Honey emergencies. Yeah. Think I’m having one now. Excuse me while I go dip a pretzel!


14 thoughts on “SOL: A Day at the Fair

  1. Brings back childhood memories Stacie and great to include these images. I LOVE the horses, wow.
    I still get to a fair, but it’s clearly focused away from the food to the great jewelry especially from my buddy Ricky.
    It’s amazing though how powerful text and images can be.


  2. The pictures really added a dimension to the writing. And those horses .. wow.
    I think it is really cool how fairs continue to live on and continue to (mostly) thrive, since so much of it is really built on nostalgia. Don’t you think? Our kids love going to the Three Country Fair in our neck of the woods and it isn’t all that great, but they love it and ask for it all the time.


  3. I think it was a fair and festival weekend! And yup…we live just outside Boulder! You are welcome to visit anytime!!

    Love those wire horses. Mia would have flipped out over them!


  4. It was a perfect weekend for a fair, wasn’t it? The weather couldn’t have been any better!

    And I agree that part of the love of going is really about nostalgia. Yes, I made a few purchases (I’m wearing one of them now: a pretty pair of earrings made from vintage green glass beads), but really it’s just about being there. And, although I catalogued all the food available, I could never have eaten all of that, and I wonder how I was always able to when I was a kid. We never got stomach aches! This time around all I managed was the lemonade and the Italian sausage. So ‘sensible’ … wish I’d gone for the fried dough and the ice cream instead!

    Yeah, the guy with the mesh was pretty fascinating. I wish I could have afforded one of his pieces.



  5. Hi, Stacie!

    I loved seeing the pictures of the fair! The wire mesh horse was amazing and I imagine it was expensive as well. But, the card man is the one who interested me the most. I love hand made cards. Now, this one seemed like very detailed work and how much can he sell his work for in the end? I admire artists at fairs because some do it for commerce and others do it simply because they love to do it and this is the only way they can get it out there.

    Anyway, thanks!


  6. Maggie, dammit

    WOW. The wire mesh thing stopped me dead in my tracks. I stared and stared at that picture and couldn’t figure it out for myself until I read your words. It’s amazing, it looks like an overexposure or something. Wow.

    Glad you’re taking advantage of the local fair. Is it wrong to think if we all bought local we’d have world peace? Just wondering.


  7. Maggie, dammit

    Hey, I’m back —



    Love it.

    Love love love love love it.

    You? Are so beautiful. So very, very beautiful.


  8. Hi, Pat–
    Yes, the man in the first photos made some gorgeous, gorgeous images. He had framed pictures as well as the cards. He was a couple of booths away from the mesh guy, and I really feel sorry for the people in between because after being so wowed by the mesh work I turned to move on and was immediately pulled toward a large, lovely picture of koi (sp?) done by the other man. I couldn’t even tell you what the booths in between were! The artist in the photos is Chong Lim, but he works with his wife, Judi (who at first wanted to be in the photo, but changed her mind). You can check them out at Island Designs. Their process is pretty labor intensive, and way cool. I don’t know how they can afford to sell even the notecards for as little as they do!

    Maggie … I’m blushing! Thanks for the compliment and for the feedback on the ‘Hey’ page. I agonized over adding a photo … and totally pilfered from you the idea of highlighting a selection of posts (great idea, thanks).


  9. Hi, Bonnie–
    I might give it a shot … maybe it’d push me to pull out my camera all the times when I hesitate and decide against.

    Fox– I knew you’d like the wire mesh stuff. That really bowled me over, too.


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